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What are Recruiters looking for?

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When the economy begins to perk up so will the job market. I read a staggering statistic that 86% of the workforce will be looking for a new position in 2013! How can you set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd to make it to the second round of interviews?

In a survey of HR professionals the number one skill they are looking for in potential candidates is communication skills, which includes oral and verbal, as well as listening skills. Think about how you interview. How you present yourself and articulate your ideas, listen to questions, and logically provide answers and examples, set one candidate apart from the rest. There is a lot of competition out there and it pays to be well informed, professional and provide clear and succinct answers to questions being asked.

The time to begin working and fine tuning your communication skills is now! The more one can practice and integrate effective communication skills the better you will be in stressful situations such as interviews. Once hired the ability to be able to effectively communicate with your boss, your co-workers, team members, internal and external customers and higher level leaders are critical for your success.  Plus being able to write logically, clearly and with brevity is imperative to communicate on the job. A survey conducted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Business School found that communication skills, including written and oral presentations, as well as an ability to work with others, were the main factors contributing to job success. (

 So what can you start doing today? Here are 6 tips to help you on your way to effective communication.

  1. Start noticing your verbal speech and how many times you use verbal fillers such as: um, uh, like, you know, whatever.
  2. Begin to eliminate these from your speech and pause for a brief second rather than say these debilitating words.
  3. Listen to what people are telling you. Listen while they are speaking, without thinking about how you will respond back or your assumption of what they are saying. Just listen to them.
  4. If you can watch yourself on video or in front of the mirror. This will help you to get an idea of what you look like when you are talking. Seriously what we think we look like and what is reality maybe very eye opening to many.
  5. Learn how to practice emotional intelligence when discussing topics where others do not share your same view point. Pause, listen, and think before you speak. Practice responding, not reacting!
  6. When you are in meetings, discussions, or wriitng emails practice putting your ideas into a logical sequence, such as 2 main points. Then articulate what those main ideas are in a succinct manner and in a way that others can understand.

This may sound like way too much to start with, but if you take one idea and begin you will find that it is not as difficult as it seems. In a few weeks come back and tackle the next, until you have made your way down the list.

 Have fun with this and acknowledge when you do well. You have had patterns of communication for as long as you have been alive, so it will take more than a day to unlearn that habit and replace it with a new one. Keep practicing and being aware of what is coming out of your mouth and keyboard, it will pay dividends when you are in an interview and can set yourself apart from the crowd.